This guidance sets out the actions that healthcare providers should take to prepare for 1 January 2021. Doing this will help to plan for and manage potential service disruption to healthcare.

This guidance is for commissioners and healthcare providers, including hospitals, care homes, GP practices and community pharmacies.

You can also see guidance for adult social care providers.

Supply of medical products

Read about the government’s plan to introduce import controls on EU goods after 31 December 2020.

The government has already announced it will implement new border controls in 3 stages leading up to full implementation in July 2021. Details are set out in the Border Operating Model, published on 13 July 2020.

If you have any questions, you can contact the relevant government team for your sector:

Business continuity plans

Make business continuity and contingency plans and review them regularly. Keep the plans up to date and consistent with other local contingency plans, in particular those being developed by your local resilience forum.

Make sure you also have plans in place for the months after 31 December 2020 to ensure continuity of care for service users.



  • review your capacity and activity plans regularly.
  • make sure your business continuity plans cover the supply of staff you need to deliver services before and after 31 December 2020
  • you don’t need to change existing EU staff employment contracts
  • you must notify your local commissioner as soon as possible if there is any risk to service delivery

The EU Settlement Scheme

Tell any staff who are EU citizens about the EU Settlement Scheme. Help staff to apply if they need support.

Through the EU Settlement Scheme, EU nationals can register for settled status if they have been in the UK for 5 years or pre-settled status if they have been here for less than 5 years.

The scheme is free and it’s simple to register. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Irish citizens are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, although there are some circumstances where they may wish to. Non-Irish family members of Irish citizens will need to apply.

Recognition of professional qualifications

EEA and Swiss health and care professionals who are registered and practising before 1 January 2021 will continue to be able to do so from 1 January 2021.

For any professional registration queries, please contact the relevant professional regulator.

EU Third Health Programme

Successful bids for EU funding from the Third Health Programme made before 31 December 2020 will receive their full financial allocation for the lifetime of the project or joint action.

Help and contacts

Help with developing business continuity and contingency plans

If you need support in developing a business continuity plan or contingency plan, contact your local commissioner or contacts within your local authority.

Help with workforce queries

Raise concerns about capacity and resourcing in the usual way.

It is important to tell your local commissioner and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible if there is any risk to service delivery.

Help with supply of medicines and vaccines

Continue to manage medicine and vaccine supply issues in the way you usually do.

Report concerns about supply issues through your regional pharmacist.

Help with supply of medical devices, clinical consumables and non-clinical goods and services

Start by following your usual processes. Check with your supplier or other relevant teams in your organisation.

Check with your clinical lead if you can use a different brand or product. If you can use an alternative but you are concerned about the initial shortage, report it through your usual escalation channels. This will ensure that supply can be restored as quickly as possible.

Tell your local commissioner and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible if disruption to the supply of medical devices, clinical consumables and/or non-clinical goods and services poses a risk to service delivery.

Published 20 September 2019
Last updated 3 August 2020 
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